FERM domain–containing protein 6 identifies a subpopulation of varicose nerve fibers in different vertebrate species
Abstract FERM domain–containing protein 6 (FRMD6) is a member of the FERM protein superfamily, which is evolutionary highly conserved and has recently been identified as an upstream regulator of the conserved growth-promoting Hippo signaling pathway. In clinical studies, the FRMD6 gene is correlated with high significance to Alzheimer’s disease and cognitive impairment implicating a wider role of this protein in the nervous system. Scare data are available on the localization of endogenous FRMD6 in neural tissues. Using a FRMD6-directed antiserum, we detected specific immunoreactivity in varicose nerve fibers in the rat central and peripheral nervous system. FRMD6-immunoreactive (-ir) neurons were found in the sensory ganglia of cranial nerves, which were marked by a pool of labeled cytoplasmic granules. Cross-species comparative studies detected a morphologically identical fiber population and a comparable fiber distribution in tissues from xenopus and human cranial nerves and ganglia. In the spinal cord, FRMD6-ir was detectable in the terminal endings of primary afferent neurons containing substance P (SP). In the rat diencephalon, FRMD6-ir was co-localized with either SP- or arginine vasopressin–positive fibers in Broca’s diagonal band and the lateral septum. Dense fiber terminals containing both FRMD6-ir and growth hormone-releasing hormone were found in the median eminence. The intimate association of FRMD6 with secretory vesicles was investigated in vitro. Induction of exocytotic vesicles in cultured cells by ectopic expression of the SP precursor molecule preprotachykinin A led to a redistribution and co-localization of endogenous FRMD6 with secretory granules closely mimicking the observations in tissues.